Walking to many different landmarks and attractions in a city can be a bit tiring. This is especially true for people who are not in the best of shape. Luckily, there is an easy way for people who are on vacation to enjoy all of the great sights that a city has to offer. A bus tour gives a person a very comfortable way to see many important things in a city. You will also be able to see these things in a very short period of time. This is helpful if your time is limited and you will not be in a certain city for very long. Here are a few of the tips you can use to make your bus tour as enjoyable as it can possibly be:

1. Take your bus tour on a weekday.

A tour bus that is packed with tourists is not the most enjoyable place to see the sights. It is much better to be on a tour bus that has some empty seats that allow you to have some elbow room. You want to avoid a situation where you and the other people are packed into the bus like sardines. One of the easiest things you can do in order to prevent this situation from occurring is to schedule your bus tour on a weekday. Avoid the weekend at all costs. It does not take a genius to figure out that NYC bus tours will be much more packed on the weekend.

2. Get on the bus early.

The location of your seat on the bus will determine how well you are going to be able to see various things during the tour. The people who get on the bus early will obviously take all of the seats that are located by windows. They will also fill up the top deck of the bus. This is why you should always get to the place where your bus tour will depart as early as possible. Being one of the first people to get there will guarantee that you will get one of the best seats on the bus. This will mean that you will be able to take photos that are unobstructed by other people on the bus.

View from the front of the upper deck on a bus in Hong Kong
Unobstructed view from the front of the upper deck on a bus in Hong Kong last month

3. Look at the weather forecast far in advance.

Mother Nature can sometimes wreak havoc on your bus tour plans. Going on a bus tour on a rainy day is bad for several reasons. First of all, you will get soaked if you are sitting on the top deck of the bus. The pictures you take will be dreary and depressing because of the dark skies and the rain obscuring the thing you are taking a picture of. You should only take a tour of a city when it is looking its best. You do not want your memories of the city you went to on vacation to be of bad weather. This is why you should keep tabs on the weather forecast and schedule your bus tour of the city accordingly.

4. Avoid taking a bus tour during rush hour.

Not many people enjoy being stuck in rush hour traffic. Make sure that you book your tour in the middle of the day so that rush hour traffic will not be an issue.

Published in Travel Tips

If you find that your sleep quality decreases while traveling, you’re not alone. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that most adults prefer the comfort and calm of their own bedrooms over a hotel room—even a luxurious one. And don’t even get people started on the perils of trying to catch some shut-eye on a cheap flight.

Short of bringing their bed with them wherever they go, what’s a weary traveler to do? Whether you’re trying to catch some ZZZs on an airplane, in a hotel, or in a train or car, here’s how to get better sleep while on the road.

how to get better sleep while on the road

1. Get comfortable.

If you’ve ever tried to sleep next to two other people in the backseat of a moving vehicle, you’ll know that this can be easier said than done. But sleep will come faster if you do what you can to make yourself comfortable. Try to wear loose-fitting clothing, take off your shoes, and cuddle up under breathable fabrics for the best chance at decent sleep. If you’re in a plane, train, or car, an inflatable or travel-sized pillow will also help.

2. Keep the environment cool, quiet, and dark.

Studies routinely show that people sleep best in spaces that are quiet, unlit, and cooled to less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While you may not be able to control the temperature wherever you’re trying to sleep (except in a car or hotel room), you can keep things quiet by packing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones or (at hotels) asking for a room that’s located away from the elevator, stairwell, vending machines, and pool (Also don’t forget to hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door). Limit your exposure to light by closing a hotel room’s curtains or packing an eye mask for flights.

3. Stick to your routines.

Consistency is key to getting good sleep, so do what you can to mimic your own bedroom environment wherever you are. Bring along your favorite pair of pajamas, a picture of your family or pet, and any other small items that will help you feel at home. Also be sure to stick to your normal bedtime routines, such as drinking a cup of tea, reading a book, listening to music, or practicing breathing exercises before closing your eyes.

Random hotel room bed waiting for you

4. Avoid stimulants.

Caffeine, alcohol, and exposure to “blue light” (aka the glow emitted from electronic devices like tablets, laptops, and smartphones) can all make it harder to catch some shut-eye. Try not to drink coffee in the afternoon or evening; don’t drink alcohol within a few hours of heading to bed; and turn off all electronics at least an hour before hitting the sheets. Avoiding these stimulants will help your body wind down so you can fall asleep faster.

5. Head to sleep-friendly hotels.

Reading reviews of hotels online prior to booking will help alert you to whether a hotel is known for having raucous guests or promoting quality slumber. Some hotels have even started investing in amenities to help guests get better sleep.

For example, the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria, Va. offers guests a “Dream Menu,” or a collection of services and products designed to help guests get better sleep (think hot water bottles, Snore-no-More pillows, and a Bed Wedge that elevates your upper torso). At the Fairmont San Francisco, guests can take advantage of a sleep kit complete with sleep machine, earplugs, eye mask, and slippers. Crowne Plaza hotels offer a “Sleep Advantage” program that lets guests elect to stay in quiet zones sans room attendant, housekeeping, or engineering activities from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. And Hampton hotels offer a “Clean and Fresh Bed” designed to provide guests with optimum comfort in the form of streamlined covers, four pillows per bed, and high-thread-count sheets.

Most importantly? Even if you find yourself tossing and turning, don’t lose hope. Fretting over lost sleep will only make you anxious, so try not to stress too much if you wanted to snooze through an entire eight-hour flight and only managed to catch an hour or two of ZZZs. A little bit of sleep is better than none. And if all else fails, never forget the power of a cat nap.

  This article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on November 15th.

Published in Travel Tips

Travel Budget: $90 USD

Cambodia, the country I've been looking forward to visiting for this last year, came into reality as I visited it last month. Why do I love Cambodia? A bunch of reasons I have to share with you below that others should definitely know. :)

I Love Cambodia Because....

1.) ...it is very convenient to travel from Thailand. From Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Train Station you may ride the Eastern Line and the trip will take around 5-6 hours. It's a third class seat and only costs 48 Thai baht ($1.50USD) but the seats are very comfortable spacious. Read more here: Train to Cambodia

Aranyaprathet Bound from Hua Lamphong
Aranyaprathet Bound from Hua Lamphong

Thailand Countryside
Thailand Countryside

2.) ...Cambodians are very hospitable and they always wear a smile on their faces!

Our Tuk-Tuk driver, Mr. Sokhom, was a very nice person and he share a lot of details about Cambodia's history. He is more concerned on his service to us rather than thinking of the money he will earn. He's such a very nice person! Read more here: Train to Cambodia


Mr. Sokhom: Driver Number 3609

Travel Tip

Hire a tuk-tuk for your one day trip to Angkor Historical Park. It is more afforable than multiple tuk-tuks and the driver can double as your tour guide.

The store vendors, shop owners, restaurant waiters and waitresses are also very kind. And guess what, they know a lot about the Philippines! The main reason is that Philippine TV shows are being shown here. Amazing!

3.) ...they have delicious foods. YES, the have very tasteful foods! Well actually the taste is somehow similar with Thai Food but there's a distinct taste I couldn't describe which made it more uniquely delicious.

4.) ...they have the world renowned Angkor Historical Park!

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

5.) ...the cost of living is cheaper than the Philippines! Siem Reap only has few skyways and highways, and they do not have any train system. A tuk-tuk ride would already suffice your transport needs. Tuk-tuk rides typically cost $1-2 USD.

Motorcycles in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Motorcycles are locals main method of transportation

6.) ...life is simpler and slow-paced, which I perfectly wanted! Very simple life and simple infrastructures but very rich in heritage. Well, they do have KFC and other foreign fast food brands in the city, but local foods are still the best to try in town!

Kids in Siem Reap, Cambodia riding their bicycle after school
Kids riding their bicycles after school

Have you ever been to Cambodia?

Published in Cambodia

If you're flying from Glasgow Airport, there's no time like the present to start looking for the most competitive deals and the best value for money on Glasgow Airport parking.

A good way to kick off the process is to search online, and use airport parking websites to find quotes on parking solutions that best suit your needs. However, make sure you only use reputable airport parking suppliers and be sure to satisfy yourself with the quality of your chosen parking provider. After all, you're leaving your car with them while you jet off to sunnier climes, so it makes sense to find a trusted supplier that offers a good service and a high level of security.

One such trusted name is Thomas Cook, and as well as offering a support network and secure parking premises, they also promise great value for money. Check out their Glasgow Airport parking page.

As you'll see, you can choose from numerous parking solutions including low-cost off-site parking, and on-site parking with valet services. Naturally, the off-site version is usually the cheapest, and offers a shuttle bus to take you to and from the terminal. These often run regularly and are surprisingly efficient, with the minimum of fuss. Or, if you prefer to park within the airport grounds, you could go for the valet parking option which includes a parking and retrieval service - perfect to help you save time at the airport. Simply hand over your keys and head straight for check-in!

For complete peace of mind, Thomas Cook also promise excellent security features at Glasgow such as automated entry and exit barriers, 24-hour CCTV and camera surveillance, patrols, floodlighting and high perimeter fencing. So, rest assured your ride home (or your pride and joy!) will be kept in a safe environment, while you get on with enjoying your holiday to the full.

Published in Scotland

That's the Stockholm Card. I was a little bit apprehensive to get it at first because at 795 Swedish Crowns it's really expensive, but it was really worth it. For our short trip, we wanted to cover as much ground as possible, and at the same time not spend too much time inside museums. Without much advance planning though, we just decided to visit the major sites, while being spontaneous along the way ("oh look, there's the Nobel Museum! let's go in!" and "hey, that's the Sprit Museum, we can get in there for free").

Let's have a look at all the attractions we visited in three days and the figures:

Transportation costs, tours and entrance fees

  • 72 hour public transportation card - SEK 230
  • Historic Canal Tour - SEK 160
  • City Hall Tour - SEK 100
  • Drottningholm Palace - SEK 215 (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Storkyrkan - SEK 40
  • Nobel Museum - SEK 100
  • Nordic Museum - SEK 100
  • Vasa Museum - SEK 130
  • Spritmuseum - SEK 100
  • Skansen - SEK 150

TOTAL: SEK 1,325
Stockholm Card: SEK 795
Savings with the Stockholm Card: SEK 530
  Verdict: WORTH IT!

  Appeared first on No Stopovers

Published in Sweden

Travelling by bus is cheap and (usually) convenient, since there are many different companies competing for business along the same lines and there are bus stops at very frequent intervals. There are disadvantages, too – the buses are often overcrowded and dirty and the frequent stops that make buses so easy to catch also make them a slow means of getting from A to B.

Bus services that travel internationally are less common but are nonetheless fiercely competitive. They are usually cheaper than other forms of international travel, but here we set out a list of all the pros and cons of using bus services for long journeys.

Advantages:

  • You can book early to ensure that you can travel at a set time and not risk missing out on your chosen journey, or you can book at the last minute for maximum flexibility.
  • Some bus services allow you to book specific seats so that you can sit together with your family or just choose somewhere in the bus that you would feel most comfortable (e.g. next to a window, or near the driver).
  • iDBUS offers low cost travel for any seat (with a mini price of £29 from London to Lille, for instance) and the cost only varies depending on your date of travel. It doesn't matter when you book, the seat will be the same low price.
  • You can travel overnight, allowing you to get some sleep and arrive rested and ready to start your holiday. Choose a bus company that offers reclining seats and plenty of leg- and elbow room.
  • If you book with iDBUS you can access free Wi-Fi and plug sockets to keep you entertained when you're on the move.
  • Short check-in times mean you can arrive just half an hour before departure, giving you time to hand over your luggage and get comfortable before setting off.
  • Luggage allowance is more generous than on the airlines and on trains because buses have plenty of space to store it for the journey: and it stays on the bus, so there is no need to worry about it 'disappearing.'
  • The coach stations are usually central, depending on which bus company you choose. iDBUS starts its journeys from London Victoria Coach Station so you don’t have to worry about arranging to get to and from the station as you would if you were flying.

Disadvantages:

  • Often you will pay a premium for booking early, but can risk not getting the time or seat you want if you book too late.
  • If you choose a bus company that does not allow you to book specific seats you may end up seated apart from your friends, or sitting somewhere you would prefer not to.
  • Bus journeys take far longer than journeys by train or plane, though the difference is not so great once you take into account the delays incurred by having to check in early and wait for luggage to be unloaded etc. Facilities like free Wi-Fi, plug sockets and comfortable chairs help the time to pass quicker.
Published in United Kingdom

If you travel long or often enough, it is inevitable – something will go wrong. I’m not talking about life-threatening incidents that fingers crossed, we all manage to avoid whilst on the road. I’m referring to those moments or events that irritate even the most experienced traveler – plane delays, bus breakdowns, stolen bags, over-booked hotels, scams, bed bugs, lost passport, food poisoning, getting locked up abroad – just to name a few.

When your travel adventure becomes a travel misadventure – and it will – take a deep breath and remember the following:

1. There is always someone worse off

When you refused to eat your vegetables as a child, did your parents respond with the comment “there are starving children in Africa who would love to eat your food”? Me too – and it used to drive me mad.

But let’s face it - it’s true.

The majority of travel misadventures happen when we are in an unfamiliar territory, so take a moment to really take in your surroundings and put your mishap into perspective. Bed bugs are itchy but they are not life threatening. A lost passport can be replaced. A wallet that has been emptied by thieves can be refilled with money sent from home. A cancelled flight will be re-scheduled.

Even if your travel misadventure happens in a developed, wealthy country, compare your surroundings to those a hundred years ago, fifty years ago, even a decade ago. How much more difficult or time consuming would dealing with your mishap have been back then? You certainly wouldn't have a smart phone to research alternative options, create a backup plan, call for assitance, or even to pass the time waiting for a resolution.

It’s all about perspective.

My electronics bag fell off the rickshaw and was run over by a car during the Rickshaw Run race across India
Electronics bag fell off the rickshaw and was run over by a car during our Rickshaw Run race across India

2. Material items can be replaced

You have travel insurance and material items can be replaced. You do have travel insurance don’t you? Have you heard the quote “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel?”

Even if you cannot afford to replace your item immediately or are not in a place where it’s available for sale, is it really an item you cannot live without? Will life stop because you don’t have your mobile phone? Will it kill you to use the internet café instead of emailing from your laptop in the air conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled café? Is watching the local action movie on the bus instead of blocking out the loud foreign words with your iPod really the end of the world?

Material items are luxuries - life will go on without them.

3. What doesn’t kill us...makes a great story

Misadventures are all part of the travel experience. Taking a deep breath and viewing your mishap as a future story to write about or embellish over beers with your mates is a surprisingly effective coping mechanism!

The day after I wrecked a motorcycle with no helmet on....face was a bit swollen and body a bit bloody and bruised

4. There is always a lesson to learn

Travel misadventures have the ability to teach you both tangible and intangible lessons. Patience, tolerance and inner strength are personality traits that are often enhanced by the inevitable challenges faced on long-term or regular travel stints. The ability to calmly face a travel misadventure head on is quite a liberating feeling and surviving your first mishap will definitely give you more confidence at dealing with the next one.

But there are also practical lessons to learn. I’ve learned how to recognise and medicate bed bug bites, I know how to replace a lost passport, I can find alternative accommodation when my planned guesthouse is full and I know the numbers to call to cancel my stolen credit card.

I’ve also learned that leaving the camera strap around my neck when my using my tripod will avoid my DSLR going for a swim in a glacier lagoon, leaving my bag on my lap instead of under the table is less likely to attract thieves, and having a book with me is a great way to pass the time when buses are delayed.

5. Some of the most memorable moments happen when things don’t go to plan

I have lost count of the great experiences I have had as a result of something going wrong: delayed flights that result in a conversation in the waiting lounge with a new friend, blocked roads that create an unplanned visit to a location that becomes a highlight of the trip, fully booked hotels that direct you to a guesthouse owned by colourful and entertaining characters or moments of kindness that enhance your experience of a country.

I experienced one such moment of kindness when I was the only foreigner on a bus to Mondulkiri in Cambodia – a bus that broke down as the sun was setting, an hour outside my destination. As the locals accepted their fate, started passing around a bottle of rice wine and got comfortable in the bus that would provide their bed for the night, I looked for alternative options. Six hours later, after hitching a ride in the open back of a passing truck, I arrived at a guesthouse on the outskirts of the town I had been heading to. I was soaked through from the rain, my clothes and backpack covered with mud, barefoot and carrying a broken shoe and legs covered with bites from sand-flies.

As I looked around in darkness, realising the guesthouse was closed for the night, my sense of adventure and humour drained away with the streams of water from the afternoons’ rain. Exhausted and close to tears, I knocked on the door of the only room with a light on and felt my heart sink when the curtains were opened and quickly closed again. Obviously the occupant had taken one look at the state I was in and wanted nothing to do with this crazy and dangerous foreigner.

A minute later the door opened and a little old Cambodian man handed me a clean pair of shoes, took my arm and led me to a room. Unable to speak English, he silently turned on the lights and checked there was hot water. When I asked ‘how much’ he shook his head, handed me the room keys and said goodnight. This simple moment of kindness remains one of my most heart-warming travel experiences to this day.

Travel adventures all have an element of misadventure – it’s all part of the experience!

  Have you had any travel misadventures? How did you cope?

Published in Travel Tips

I get asked very often how I've been able to afford to travel so often to so many places (so far a tally of 25 countries outside the UK). After a few long haul trips (not more than one per year, and not every year) I think many people have assumed I'm always flying long haul and therefore paying for long haul airfares. In actual fact most of my travel is within Europe, and despite recent financial troubles in the Eurozone, I still manage to do it fairly cheaply.


So what is the key to keeping costs down? One word: FLEXIBILITY.


By leaving your options open, casting your net a little wider and thinking creatively, it is possible to travel for a lot less:


    1. Be flexible with airports - I live very close to Glasgow International airport. Many of the Mediterranean destinations served by Glasgow International are also offered by budget airlines at Glasgow Prestwick, often for a lot less if you are book at the right time. Likewise, Edinburgh and Manchester airports are also easily accessible with rail (and a subsequent bus, soon to be tram connection for Edinburgh), and while slightly more inconvenient than a Glasgow airport, they offer many more connections. Most Scottish people wouldn't think to go to Manchester (and likewise many in the North of England wouldn't think to come up to Scotland), but taking it into account when booking a flight can make things A LOT cheaper - for example just now I'm trying to book a flight to Berlin. Even with the train fare (which is cheap if booked in advance, especially with a railcard) the flight with Easyjet is over half as cheap as the same destination flying from Glasgow. Do you know your "local" airports?

      Visiting Krakow in December 2011 with fellow IAESTE Scotland members 

      - one of the many Eurpean trips we have made on a budget.

      1. Be flexible with airlines - When I flew to Brazil, I had to first fly to Munich to meet Macio. Usually flying to Munich I go for the EDI-MUC Easyjet connection, taking only hand baggage. On this occasion I was taking hold baggage, and it actually worked out to be about the same price to fly with KLM than it was with Easyjet. When I took into account the train and bus fare to Edinburgh, it was actually cheaper (and more convenient) to fly with KLM from Glasgow than fly with a budget carrier. You can research what airlines fly to a destination simply by looking up the local or destination airport on wikipedia. Know your carriers and what they charge!
      2. Be flexible with dates - Fairly straightforward. Flights in the middle of the week tend to be cheaper, as well as away from major holidays and events. Avoiding high season is also a good idea: in Scotland we have different school holidays than England, so many people go away at the start of July, before English schools have broken up as prices are usually cheaper. Likewise I took a trip to Malta one Easter, which landed the first week of the tourist season. Not only were flights and accommodation cheap, the islands were really quiet, there were a lot of Easter related things happening which were interesting to see, and the climate at that time was not to great a shock after infrequent snow showers at home in the weeks before. Unless you are constrained by dates, be open to flying out at any time.
      3. Be flexible with baggage - This one is pretty simple: do you really need to take hold baggage? If not, the rule of thumb is that it is typically cheaper to fly with a budget airline and not add hold baggage. Be familiar with their cabin baggage regulations before you fly so you don't get caught out at the airport. Learn how to pack effectively, roll your clothes and maximise your wardrobe by making sure everything matches. If you are staying for more than one week, remember it will be much cheaper to find a laundromat (or friend's washing machine) than it will be to pay for baggage. Ask yourself the question: do I need to take this?

    My faithful blue backpack goes with me whenever I go onto the 

    continent - I have never had problems with airlines regarding 

    the size and it will carry everything I need for a week.

    1. Be flexible with accommodation - If you are going to be spending most of your day exploring a locale and getting to know the people really well then do you really need a 3-star (or more) hotel, with pool, entertainment and catering? Not only does that all cost money, it is likely to be a distraction from the place you have paid good money to see. Alternatives such as hostels, CouchSurfing or staying with friends, not only cost less (or are free!), but offer greater opportunities to see the countries in an authentic way and meet new people. All you need is somewhere to sleep!
    2. Be flexible with transportation - Thinking of hiring a car? Think again! Car hire can be expensive from the word go. Figure in fuel, parking and tolls it can quickly add up. I once took a road trip with a friend, going from Dresden to the Benelux, with my friend having a job interview in the Netherlands, with transportation costs being reimbursed as a result, making it a very cheap road trip. On the other hand a few days road trip from Munich to Verona via Salzburg, Liechtenstein and the Bodensee this January was only out of our own pocket but the added costs, long hours of driving and really bad weather just added to our stress. Instead consider other alternatives such as an Inter-rail pass, coach and budget airlines for long distance travel, and local rail, bus and tram networks for short distances (and be familiar with what ticketing options are available). Germany in particular has a good system of group rail tickets, where people will actively come and ask you where you are traveling in the hopes of sharing the costs of a group ticket with you. Similar arrangements can also be made onlineLook into different transportation methods and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

      My first trip to Munich in 2010 - group train tickets are the

      way forward when traveling with (or without friends).

    3. Be flexible with your spending prior to going away - In other words start saving money! This is an important one. While a lot of my friends at uni were going out  partying every week, indulging in retail therapy or spending money on other things that weren't necessary purchases, I channelled most of my disposable income into travel. I also had a bit more disposable income as I lived with my parents (which has its advantages and disadvantages). Unlike a night out or the latest fashion, travel can and does stand out on a CV, and it's effects last longer than the next morning's hangover or the latest trend. Certainly there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on a night out or buying something you liked the look of, but if you want to travel (or do anything else for that matter) you need to ask yourself what you want most, and remember you can only spend money once. Never underestimate the effectiveness of prioritising your spending!

    So there are some pointed for bringing your initial costs down. Hopefully by following some of these simple guidelines you will be able to free up some funds for spending on cultural activities or even being able to afford to go away. I hope that this post will be helpful in planning your next trip. Remember that a smart traveller is a successful traveller!

    Published in Travel Tips

    There are a few ways to leave an island. Airplanes and ferries are the most readily available means of transportation. But, if you can swing it, I highly recommend leaving islands the way I left the Greek isle of Kos: by sailboat.

    You can charter your own sailboat most anyplace in the Med and sail yourself around if you're an experienced sailor. If you aren't and still want to sail, you can either hire a boat with a skipper, or do what I did - join a G Adventures tour. (G Adventures in no way sponsored this post or this blog, wouldn't it be nice if they had?)

    I have to say, sailing around the Greek Isles on a sailboat is THE way to see Greece. Think about it - Greece is a land of seafaring people, so what better way to see those ancient islands than from the sea?

    G Adventures did NOT disappoint. I'm actually thinking of going on their sailing tours in the Maldives and in Indonesia...eventually, because seriously, this sailing tour was THE BEST thing I've ever done while traveling. EVER.

    Before our tour left Kos, we spent one night in the harbor there. It gave everyone on the tour a chance to get acquainted, do a bit of grocery shopping and explore the main port area. That night, in stark contrast to the previous three nights I spent on Kos, I didn't sleep cooled by air conditioning in a lush bed in a room overlooking the sea. My last night on Kos, I slept in a teeny-tiny 2-person v-berth on a 50ft sailboat (I had it all to myself because my charter, meant for ten people, only ended up with four- including skipper). No air conditioning, (so it was BAKING hot) No screens on the hatches, (so the swarms of mozzies on the island of Kos all feasted on me all night long) No hot water in the standing head (bathroom/shower) because the engine hadn't been run that evening (cold shower, which really wasn't bad in the heat).

    And it was no big deal. All night long, between mosquito bites, I lay in my v-berth, happy as a clam, being rocked to sleep by the sea.

    I'm a boat person. And always will be. And I felt as though, at long last, I'd come home.

    Tour the boat with me, in pictures:


    One of the two bunk rooms...  (NOT where I slept... thankfully!)


    The parlor


    My own, private head. Yup. This little cupboard of convenience is both a toilet and shower...


    My V-berth. Cozy!


    My fellow adventurers


    Skipper Robin Kersten (Fantastic Skipper. He runs his own charter company out of the Azores called Similie Sailing. Look him up!)


    Ekavi - my home away from home while sailing the Greek Isles. (She's a Bavaria 50.)

    Published in Greece

    Are you planning on taking a ferry between El Nido and Coron in the Philippines? If so there are two options for you.

    Tourist Ferry

    Every day of the week you can catch the tourist ferry between these two ports. The ride will supposedly average 8 hours and cost 2,200 Pesos.

    From what I have heard the boat can take longer than the scheduled time and frequently runs out of food. There are many companies that offer this service but they all cost the same and from the services advertised no real difference is apparent. I personally did not go with this option. The hefty price tag of 2,200 Pesos it was out of my budget so instead my travel companions and I went for Option B, aka the Masochistic Local Boat.

    Local Ferry

    Once a week, check departure schedule when in town, you can catch the local cargo boat between these two ports. The cost, including breakfast, is only 950 Pesos.

    I took this boat from El Nido to Coron in Jan 2012. It was scheduled to leave at midnight but we were not allowed to board the boat till around 2am. This is a frequent occurence on this boat and the locals seemed to expect this.

    Beds on the ferry from El Nido to Coron in Palawan, Philipppines

    Once we boarded the boat we were greeted with our first of many uncomfortable laughs. The beds we had booked on this "sleeper" ferry were nothing more than plywood bunk beds. I imagine prison beds to be similar. I fortunately passed out but my travel companions said we did not actually pull out of port till almost 4am.

    Upon waking up due to rooster calls, I shared a few more uncomfortable giggles before setting off to find the bathroom. To my surprise they weren't as bad as expected. A head and bucket but clean enough, whew. After that was breakfast. This simply consisted of white rice, a hard-boiled egg and dried fish. I highly recommend stocking up on water and snacks for this ride.

    There was a pet pig on the ferry from El Nido to Coron in Palawan, Philipppines

    The rest of the ride was spent reading and watching pristine beaches that dotted remote islands as we pass by. The tiny island in this remote region are breathtaking. Even to this jaded Island Girl. The other main on-board activity was touring the zoo. The zoo? You ask. Yes our boat was home to 1 pig, 2 chickens, 3 tanks of fish and clams and 50 buffalo.

    Would I do it again? I'm not sure but I'm sure glad I did it once. These are the kinds of experiences I travel for. The memories I will cherish!

    Do you have any transport hilarious/horror stories?

    The ferry from El Nido to Coron in Palawan, Philipppines
    Alex lending a helping hand cooling off the 50 water buffalo

    The ferry from El Nido to Coron in Palawan, Philipppines

    Published in Philippines

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